Houston’s Urban Land Institute Wants To Hear from You

Last year, the Urban Land Institute Houston gave one of its Development of Distinction Awards to Gulfgate (shown here). Near Telephone Rd., one of the city’s first malls was upgraded to an outdoor strip center with a few restaurants and many links of chain retail: Old Navy, Staples, Ross, Best Buy. (The other 2012 “for-profit” award went to a fancier version of the same: CityCentre.) Typically, a jury selects the winners; but this year the ULI has introduced a new People’s Choice category. Now you can vote for all your favorite developments, such as . . .


. . . the new Houston Food Bank at 535 Portwall St.; Swamplot reported on the massive building in 2011:

Or the headquarters of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department at 2999 Wayside Dr.:

Avenue CDC’s senior-living complex Fulton Gardens at 3724 Fulton St.:

Kirby Dr. at night:

Apartment complex Villa del Prado at 9313 Tallyho Rd:

The H-E-B Montrose Market on W. Alabama St.; Swamplot reported on its opening (and the demo of the Wilshire Village apartments):

The Julia Ideson Building at 500 McKinney Ave. downtown, next to the Central Library:

Voting ends January 21, with winners announced January 29.

Photos: Urban Land Institute Houston

11 Comment

  • Gulfgate started as an outdoor shopping complex. The roof was added later turning it in to an air conditioned mall. It is time to tear a lot of sh*t down in this town that has outlived its use. Gulfgate is a prime example of life returning to areas short sighted people wrote off as urban blight…. The entire Farb years of mega apartment complexes need to go, starting with the horrible thing he developed near Hobby Airport. The light rail needs to wake up and use the lines already in place….old Santa Fe lines run right through Rice Military and branch off towards the burbs….no reason the trains can’t share the same damn lines like in the old days….. Memorial City is a prime example of bad galleria type overdeveloped land use….. breathing room is good….. smaller grocery stores on every corner instead of mega stores miles from homes…..simple, elegant and well planned commercial, retail and homes that are built to last…….NO MORE FAKE STUCCO CR*P!

  • Charles, you should really get into real estate development. You seem to know what should be built and where.

  • Charles, and none of your ideas are based in reality. The reason it doesn’t happen the way you described is deeply rooted in basics of land availability and more importantly price and ability to finance said projects.

    P.S. There is’t such thing as “Fake Stucco” in residential construction, not at least in the last 15 years.

  • What, no Heights Wal-Mart?

  • Not to pile on with commonsense, but he’s right about the Stucco comment (and I see it all the time). If you don’t like Stucco, that’s cool. Stucco isn’t for everyone. It has it’s pros/cons. But what’s the deal with calling it “fake stucco” ?
    We use a lot of hardie siding that has a ‘wood grain’ look to it. Perhaps you could call that siding “fake wood”, but you wouldn’t call it “Fake hardie”.

  • I took it to mean that Charles was talking about synthetic stucco, EIFS.

  • Pye: Ah, I thought that EIFS was just for the tacky looking design pieces stuck on commercial strip buildings. I never assumed it would actually be used as a siding as a replacement for stucco.
    Guess I learned something.
    That said, I’ve still heard people call stucco “fake stucco” for whatever reason. I hope all those times I rolled my eyes it wasn’t EIFS on the buildings :)

  • It’s a liability no-no to use EIFS on residential construction and you might not be able to insure it, in fact, some cities’ building codes forbid it all together. It is however still widely used on commercial structures.
    I think Charles’s post was a direct attack on Stucco homes vs. brick veneer which I see as a purely aesthetic argument.

  • Isn’t stucco made of sand and cement and troweled onto a lath? Perhaps what people mean by fauxco is the slightly rubbery-looking (even when dry) stuff that gives the exterior of houses the same look as many commercial buildings. That said, a few years ago I determined that I wanted a stucco-look fireplace (here, it’s limestone you get a little weary of) but that doing actual stucco was an art I wasn’t likely to master (it’s unfortunately the case that, in home projects, I tend to learn how to do something by doing it badly, and then don’t get another chance) so after pulling off the existing tile I bought a bucket of “elastomeric finish coat” and applied it over a cement coat. It came out well, though how durable I’m not sure.

  • “Real” stucco is a sand and cement material that is troweled in place. “Fake” stucco usually means EIFS (External Insulation Finishing System), frequently used on commercial canopies and such things where there isn’t occupied space immediately behind it. The problem with EIFS is that the plastic compound that forms the outer skin is impervious to moisture – so when moisture gets into the Styrofoam behind it it doesn’t have anywhere to go and a serious mold factory gets started, supporting wood rots, etc., etc. EIFS was used in residential construction for a while because it’s easy and quick to install, and less expensive than cementitious stucco, but it became a liability nightmare.

  • Thanks for the info, mollusk. I think there is still another synthetic stucco called “one-coat.” In reading, unwillingly, about the confusing world of sandy, gypsum-y, and synthetic finishes I did learn about the moisture barrier with EIFS and that real stucco allows moisture to move through; but since mine was an interior application it didn’t seem to matter, though I was told to go view the product on the outside of some apartments. In any case, I only used the tintable elastomeric finish coat, not the rest of the EIFS “system,” over concrete: so, a fake of a fake! There was something else I could have used to suggest stucco, called stucco top coat, by Quikrete, but it only came in 4 bad colors.
    I just realized I went to all this trouble to simulate stucco when everyone seems to regard it as déclassé. Oh well. I like to imagine I’m in California, I guess.